From Simplicity To Complexity - Why Is The Universe So Complex?
Time Travel And Complexity
Out Of Sight - From Quarks To Molecules
The Origin Of Life: Chemistry + Biology = Abiogenesis
The Complexity Of Life
The Illusion Of Complexity - Neuroactivity And Complex Behaviour
A Short History Of Nearly Everything
A lot for me to watch and absorb.
Great work Constabul
Brian Greene: Is our universe the only universe?
Evidence of other universes?
A Multiverse in my assessment means no divine creation for us.
Just random convergences of information.
No more divine then Alphabet soup.
When man finally looks out of the fish bowl will there be any one looking back?
The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority.
The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking."
A. A. Milne
…and now, nothing more,
I want to be alone with my essential sea…
I don’t want to speak for a long time,
Silence! I want to learn,
I want to know if I exist.
New Particle Discovered at CERN
ScienceDaily (Apr. 27, 2012) — Physicists from the University of Zurich have discovered a previously unknown particle composed of three quarks in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) particle accelerator. A new baryon could thus be detected for the first time at the LHC. The baryon known as Xi_b^* confirms fundamental assumptions of physics regarding the binding of quarks.
Telltale signs: The snapshot of a particle collision in the CMS detector shows decay products of a Xi_b^* baryon. Easily recognizable are, among other things, the two muons (red lines). (Credit: CERN)
In particle physics, the baryon family refers to particles that are made up of three quarks. Quarks form a group of six particles that differ in their masses and charges. The two lightest quarks, the so-called "up" and "down" quarks, form the two atomic components, protons and neutrons. All baryons that are composed of the three lightest quarks ("up," "down" and "strange" quarks) are known. Only very few baryons with heavy quarks have been observed to date. They can only be generated artificially in particle accelerators as they are heavy and very unstable.
In the course of proton collisions in the LHC at CERN, physicists Claude Amsler, Vincenzo Chiochia and Ernest Aguiló from the University of Zurich's Physics Institute managed to detect a baryon with one light and two heavy quarks. The particle Xi_b^* comprises one "up," one "strange" and one "bottom" quark (usb), is electrically neutral and has a spin of 3/2 (1.5). Its mass is comparable to that of a lithium atom. The new discovery means that two of the three baryons predicted in the usb composition by theory have now been observed.
The discovery was based on data gathered in the CMS detector, which the University of Zurich was involved in developing. The new particle cannot be detected directly as it is too unstable to be registered by the detector. However, Xi_b^* breaks up in a known cascade of decay products. Ernest Aguiló, a postdoctoral student from Professor Amsler's group, identified traces of the respective decay products in the measurement data and was able to reconstruct the decay cascades starting from Xi_b^* decays.
The calculations are based on data from proton-proton collisions at an energy of seven Tera electron volts (TeV) collected by the CMS detector between April and November 2011. A total of 21 Xi_b^* baryon decays were discovered -- statistically sufficient to rule out a statistical fluctuation.
The discovery of the new particle confirms the theory of how quarks bind and therefore helps to understand the strong interaction, one of the four basic forces of physics which determines the structure of matter.
The University of Zurich is involved in the LHC at CERN with three research groups. Professor Amsler's and Professor Chiochia's groups are working on the CMS experiment; Professor Straumann's group is involved in the LHCb experiment.
The CMS detector is designed to measure the energy and momentum of photons, electrons, muons and other charged particles with a high degree of accuracy. Various measuring instruments are arranged in layers in the 12,500-ton detector, with which traces of the particles resulting from the collisions can be recorded. 179 institutions worldwide were involved in developing CMS. In Switzerland, these are the University of Zurich, ETH Zurich and the Paul Scherrer Institute.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 095621.htm
Synthetic biologists have discovered that six other molecules can could store genetic information and pass it on. A host of alternative nucleic acids have been made in labs over the years, but no one has made them work like DNA. Until now, everyone thought we were limited to RNA and DNA. This is the first time artificial molecules have been made to pass genes on to their descendants. The finding is a proof of principle that life needn't be based on DNA and RNA.
The ability to copy information from one molecule to another is fundamental to all life. Organisms pass their genes to their descendants, often with small changes, and as a result life can evolve over the generations. Barring a few exceptions, all known organisms use DNA as the information carrier."This unique ability of DNA and RNA to encode information can be implemented in other backbones," says Philipp Holliger of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK.
Holliger's team focused on six XNAs (xeno-nucleic acids). DNA and RNA are made of a sugar, a phosphate and a base. The XNAs had different sugars, and in some of them the sugars are replaced with completely different molecules. Synthetic XNA, with its different sugar backbone to natural DNA, can mimic many of the properties of the real thing.
Holliger and his team engineered enzymes that helped the six types of XNA to assemble and replicate genetic messages. The enzymes transcribed DNA into the various XNAs, then back into new DNA strands — with 95% accuracy or more.
A major challenge for the team was to create enzymes that could copy a gene from a DNA molecule to an XNA molecule, and other enzymes that could copy it back into DNA. Once they had created these enzymes, they were able to store information in each of the XNAs, copy it to DNA, and copy it back into a new XNA. In effect, the first XNA passed its information on to the new one – albeit in a roundabout way. "The cycle we have is a bit like a retrovirus, which cycles between RNA and DNA," Holliger says. Because the XNAs can do this, they are capable of evolution.
Genetic transmission over successive DNA-to-XNA cycles allowed researchers to select for only those XNAs that attached to certain target proteins from a pool of random samples — a process akin to evolution over multiple generations.
“For the first time, this confirms that replication, heredity and evolution are possible in these alternative backbones,” says Holliger.."This is very interesting with respect to the origin of life," says Jack Szostak of Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts. Many biologists suspect that the first life-forms used RNA, and DNA was adopted later. But we don't know why those two molecules were chosen: are they the best possible storage media, or were they simply the only things available?
Holliger suspects RNA was an opportunistic choice. "Clearly, there is no overwhelming functional imperative to use DNA and RNA," he says. Instead, life may have started with RNA simply because it was made in large quantities on the early Earth.
Most biologists think life on Earth began with RNA because it can both store information and catalyse useful reactions. In his latest experiment, Holliger has now shown that one of his XNA's – 1,5-anhydrohexitol nucleic acid, or HNA – can fold into a 3D shape and bind to specific target molecules. This is the first step in becoming an enzyme. The same thing had previously been done for threose nucleic acid (TNA).
This suggests XNAs might form the basis of life on other planets, where different environments led to different chemistry. "I would be surprised if we find truly extraterrestrial life that was based on DNA and RNA," Holliger says. "There might have been an XNA-world on a different planet."
"The Heaven's Lights are fed by the energy generated inside the furnaces of Hell; I AM One Conductive Wire! "
Think of the people in the 1900s, vary few cars, no planes, all the "advancements" of then, and what it is now. Is mind boggling.
Ion Crystal Set to Power Quantum Simulator
Quantum computers are getting closer to reality as scientists created the ion crystal that will allow this quantum simulator to perform calculations that eclipses the current maximum capacity of any known computer by an astonishing 10 to the power of 80.
The ion-crystal used is poised to create one of the most powerful computers ever developed, with the results published in the journal Nature http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v4 ... 10981.html on 26 April 2012.
“Computing technology has taken a huge leap forward using a crystal with just 300 atoms suspended in space,” said Dr Biercuk, from the University’s School of Physics and ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems.
“The system we have developed has the potential to perform calculations that would require a supercomputer larger than the size of the known universe – and it does it all in a diameter of less than a millimeter,” said Dr Biercuk.
The NIST quantum simulator permits study of quantum systems that are difficult to study in the laboratory and impossible to model with a supercomputer. In this photograph of the crystal, the ions are fluorescing, indicating the qubits are all in the same state. Under the right experimental conditions, the ion crystal spontaneously forms this nearly perfect triangular lattice structure. Credit: Britton/NIST
A tiny crystal that enables a computer to perform calculations that currently stump the world’s most powerful supercomputers has been developed by an international team including the University of Sydney’s Dr Michael Biercuk.
“The projected performance of this new experimental quantum simulator eclipses the current maximum capacity of any known computer by an astonishing 10 to the power of 80. That is 1 followed by 80 zeros, in other words 80 orders of magnitude, a truly mind-boggling scale.”
The work smashes previous records in terms of the number of elements working together in a quantum simulator, and therefore the complexity of the problems that can be addressed.
The team Dr Biercuk worked with, including scientists from the US National Institute of Standards and Technology, Georgetown University in Washington, North Carolina State University and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in South Africa, has produced a specialized kind of quantum computer known as a ‘quantum simulator’.
Ever since Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman highlighted the potential of quantum computing in the 1980s, scientists have been attempting to build quantum computers capable of solving some of the largest and most complex problems. Special-purpose quantum simulators have tremendous potential to solve a variety of challenging problems in materials science, chemistry, and biology, with much greater efficiency than conventional computers.
The research team’s revolutionary crystal exceeds all previous experimental attempts in providing ‘programmability’ and the critical threshold of qubits (a unit measuring quantum information) needed for the simulator to exceed the capability of most supercomputers.
“Many properties of natural materials governed by the laws of quantum mechanics are very difficult to model using conventional computers. The key concept in quantum simulation is building a quantum system to provide insights into the behavior of other naturally occurring physical systems.”
Much like studying a scale model of an airplane wing in a wind tunnel to simulate the behavior of a full-scale aircraft, tremendous insights about difficult and complex quantum systems can be gleaned using a quantum ‘scale model’.
“By engineering precisely controlled interactions and then studying the output of the system, we are effectively running a ‘program’ for the simulation,” said Dr Biercuk.
“In our case, we are studying the interactions of spins in the field of quantum magnetism – a key problem that underlies new discoveries in materials science for energy, biology, and medicine,” said Dr Biercuk.
“For instance, we hope to study the spin interactions predicted by models for high-temperature superconductivity – a physical phenomenon that has yet to be explained, but has the potential to revolutionize power distribution and high-speed transport.”
The experimental device provides exceptional new capabilities which allow the researchers to engineer interactions which mimic those found in natural materials.
Remarkably they can even realize interactions that are not known to be found in nature, engineering totally new forms of quantum matter.
Source: University of Sydney
http://scitechdaily.com/ion-crystal-set ... simulator/
Discussing the Search for the Higgs Particle
Does the Higgs boson particle exits? What happens if we find it and what if we don’t? These are just a few of the questions discussed in this hour long video as a panel of scientists discus the search for Higgs boson at the 2012 Columbia Science Forum on searching for the Higgs particle.
The world of physics has its mysteries, but one of its biggest—whether the elusive Higgs boson actually exists—is closer to a resolution, of sorts.
Researchers first theorized the Higgs boson in the 1960s. It is named for Peter Higgs, a professor emeritus at the University of Edinburgh who was one of several physicists who theorized its existence. Now, with indications looking positive, they expect to soon find enough evidence to demonstrate once and for all whether Higgs exists.
On April 18 the World Leaders Forum co-hosted an event with Columbia Science Initiative to explore two fundamental physics questions regarding this so far intangible particle: “What if we find the Higgs boson? And what if we don’t?” The panelists were physics professor Michael Tuts, the ATLAS experiment program manager at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN; Brian Greene, professor of physics and mathematics; Dennis Overbye, New York Times science reporter; and Mariette DiChristina, Scientific American editor in chief.
The Standard Model of physics—the theory that describes how subatomic particles behave and interact—is the most accepted theory of the universe. It portrays the Higgs field as a “molasses-like” substance holding everything together, and giving everything mass.
“If this is true, we should be able to build an experiment that proves it,” said physics professor Amber Miller, dean of science for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, who moderated the panel. “There’s no reason to think it should exist except that theorists have cooked it up. That makes it risky, but also profound. We are looking for something that will only exist if theories are correct.”
“If they find it, it will confirm ideas that have been on the table for 30 to 40 years,” said Greene, who believes the experiment presents a win-win situation. “It’s purely mathematical, this idea that space is filled with this substance. If they can crack a little piece off, it will be an amazing confirmation of the power of math to light the way. And it’s amazing if they don’t find it, because it will tell us this idea is wrong, and force us to go back to the drawing board.”
Scientists have long known that everything has mass, and understood the properties of particles, but still have not been able to explain where mass comes from. As Miller explained, the search for Higgs is not only an opportunity to understand how nature works, but also how science itself works.
At the ATLAS detector at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, a 17-mile track deep beneath the earth outside Geneva, scientists from 38 countries and 175 institutions conduct experiments that smash proton beams, or hadrons, into each other at nearly the speed of light. Tuts, described ATLAS as “a microscope for studying the subatomic world.” The device is so large that it would fit snugly inside Low Library. The team is using ATLAS to take millions of pictures of these collisions, hoping to detect the Higgs, with experiments running throughout 2012. The evidence they seek is repeated indications of a “bump” in the data at a particular mass indicating the existence of the Higgs.
Overbye said he hopes to announce major news, and jokingly chided Tuts and Greene for physics not having “a single breakthrough in nearly forty years.”
“How will you know when it’s time to pick up the phone,” asked DiChristina, calling this a “touchstone” moment. “How will you know when it’s proven enough?”
Tuts explained that they will be continuing to analyze data and “when we can be certain enough, we’ll announce our findings.”
When an audience member asked why scientists pursue something that may not exist, especially given the expense, Professor Tuts explained, “By doing cutting edge research, we push the boundaries of technology. Basic research is the engine that drives technology. And 20 or 50 years from now, the basic research we are doing will continue to impact technology.” Greene added that such experiments can inspire young people to pursue science, and that if the researchers prove that Higgs exists, it will just be beginning.
“This is a new kind of matter that will have been discovered for the first time,” said Greene, “a particle with characteristics unlike any other.” He added that he hoped post-Higgs research would lead to more ways to “link up the physics of the very small with the physics of the very large,” joining particle physics with cosmology, for example, looking at the Big Bang as the largest particle accelerator ever.
Source: Andrea Retzky, Columbia University
Image: Columbia University
Video: Columbia News Video Team
http://scitechdaily.com/discussing-the- ... -particle/
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